This weekend I saw “Sunshine Cleaning.” Do not worry, I wont give anything away. But, as a recommendation, I say wait for the video. Although it was made by the same folks that made “Little Miss Sunshine” it is just not as funny.
This isn’t to say it isn’t a good movie; it is pretty good, especially with interpretation. But I see no reason to rush out and see it in the theater. It will be out on video soon enough.
In this blog I’d like to discuss the movie in a general way, and its relation to therapy.
The movie is about death. If you haven’t read the synopsis, it’s about two sisters with a difficult relationship who start up a business cleaning up crime scenes when the police are done. There’s a little more about death in it, but I don’t want to give too much away.
In existential theory a predominant belief is that the fear of death underlies most of our psychological issues. And I have a firm belief we spend a great deal of time attempting to ignore our transient nature in this reality. We keep ourselves super busy, often believing we will be happy in the future. “I’ll be happy when I am married,” “I’ll enjoy life when I’m retired,” are just a couple of examples of things I’ve heard regarding minimal contentment now and believing a future event will make someone happy. We often act as if we will never die, not enjoying life in the moment.
I have a tattoo which reads “Memento Mori.” It is Latin for remember your death. When I have told people about it I often hear “that is morbid!” I disagree. I try to keep in mind my time is limited, as is all of ours, and I try to live my life to the fullest. But the statement of others supports my belief that most folks want to ignore death, especially their own. In therapy it is my goal that others will embrace their lives. This often requires facing their death. For a great book about facing your personal fear of death, see Yalom’s “Staring at the Sun”.
To me “Sunshine Cleaning” is a symbol for this ignoring of death. The main characters have not fully grieved the losses in their life, instead doing what they felt the death meant, taking care of the responsibility. And their job is to erase the physical evidence of the death from their clients’ homes or businesses.
For tax advice, please see an accountant.
I’m interested in any comments, especially from those that have seen the movie. If you leave a comment and have seen the movie, let me know if you read this before or after in your comment please.